The effects of different types of variations in profile and thickness on the amplitude and the dynamic bending stresses of a square cantilever plate excited by a point harmonic load resonance has been investigated. A four-noded plate bending element has been used for the analysis. The response has been determined for the first three modes of vibration. In each case the results obtained for different thickness variations are compared with those of the uniform thickness plate. It is observed that considerable reductions in amplitude and/or bending stresses can be achieved by the proper selection of thickness variation. © 1993.